Department of Political Science


Dr Niheer Dasandi

DLP Research Fellow

dasandi new


Dr Niheer Dasandi is a Research Fellow with the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP). His research broadly focuses on the political economy of development. Prior to becoming a DLP Research Fellow, Niheer completed a doctorate in political science at UCL in July 2013. He spent two years before this working for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Niheer has previously taught the undergraduate module, International Development and Public Policy, and the postgraduate module, Political Economy of Development in the department. 

Research Interests

My research focuses on three core areas: politics of development, international political economy of development, and public attitudes to development in the global North and South. My research is methodologically plural, combining quantitative and qualitative analysis. I am involved in a number of research projects:  

  • The politics-bureaucracy interface: I am currently looking at how the interaction between political and bureaucratic leaders can promote or impede reform processes in developing countries. 
  • Sub-national Indian political leadership. Together with Alex Baturo and Slava Mikhaylov, I am working on a research project looking at political leaders at the sub-national (state) level in India. We seek to build a database of sub-national Indian leaders, which will be used to better understand the role of political leadership in development. 
  • Indian middle class attitudes to poverty. I have recently conducted research looking at the attitudes of middle class Indians to poverty in the country, and the implications for pro-poor policy design. This research was based on interviews conducted in the Indian state of Gujarat between August and September 2013. 
  • Public attitudes to development in the UK. I am also interested in attitudes to development in richer nations. Together with Susan Gaines, I have looked at the philosophical principles that underlie NGO development appeals. In addition, Susan and I are also involved in a research project with David Hudson, and Jennifer Hudson, which uses experiments to understand the implications of the alternative framing of development appeals for public engagement and donations. David, Jennifer, and I are also working with Yannis Theocharis on a project tracking and analysing the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign in the lead up to the 2013 UK G8 summit. 
  • International inequality and development. My PhD research looked at the impact of inequality between and within countries on poverty, using network analysis to measure international inequalities. Alex Braithwaite, David Hudson, and myself are building on this research following on from an ESRC Small Grant called Mapping the Structure of International Inequalities and the Poverty-Conflict Nexus that we held. 
  • State Preferences and UN General Debate speeches. Alex Baturo and Slava Mikhaylov, and I are working on a project that applies quantitative text analysis to speeches made in the United Nations General Assembly in order to derive estimates for state preferences and interests. We seek to apply this new measure to a range of international political economy issues.  
  • The politics and ethics of aid provision to developmental regimes. I am working with Lior Erez to develop a theoretical framework for understanding the dilemma faced by donors in providing aid to states that have achieved significant development successes, but are also accused of violating human rights.


  • “The Global Governance of Development: Development Financing, Good Governance and the Domestication of Poverty” (with David Hudson) in The Handbook of the International Political Economy of Governance, Anthony Payne and Nicola Phillips (eds.), Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014. [Read more]
  • “International Inequality and World Poverty: A Quantitative Structural Analysis”, New Political Economy, 2014, 19(2): 201-226. [Read more]
  • “The Politics-Bureaucracy Interface in Developing Countries: Characteristics, Determinants, and Impact on Reform”, DLP State of the Art Paper, forthcoming.
  • “Seeking the Path of Least Resistance: An Analysis of Indian Middle Class Attitudes to Poverty and the Implications for Pro-Poor Policy Design”, DLP Research Paper, forthcoming.
  • “Poverty Reductionism: The Exclusion of History, Politics, and Global Factors from Mainstream Poverty Analysis”, British International Studies Association (BISA) IPEG Papers in Global Political Economy Series, July 2009. [Read more]